Android gaming with an Xbox 360 Controller

This afternoon I took delivery of an OTG USB cable for my mobile devices. I’ve previously blogged about using a PS3 controller with an Android phone but I was curious how well my wired Xbox 360 controller would work.

Plugging the OTG cable into my Nexus 7 and then into the Xbox controller was of course simple, and I had mixed results with the couple of games I tried. If you’re willing to root your Nexus 7 you can install another app that makes it easier to get things working but even with a stock Nexus 7 it worked.

First off I tried Frodo and Vice, the C64 emulators. I thought they might have support for this. Unfortunately not. Luckily Mupen64 Plus, the N64 emulator, does support an external controller! I had to redefine a few buttons, and the left analog stick but I was soon leading the races in Mario Kart 64!

I tried Shadowgun: Deadzone next. It was my first time playing this multiplayer over-the-shoulder third person shooter. The game picked up my controller perfectly! All I had to do was invert the Y axis as I normally do. I’d like to say I kicked ass but I didn’t. I got one kill to six deaths before I gave up. Looks like a good game, but it must be next to impossible to play on a small screen.

I wanted to try GTA III but I never got past the loading screen on my Nexus 7. Dead Trigger is next on my todo list. That should be fun.

I used the OTG cable to connect an external USB flash drive to my devices too. Unrooted the Nexus 7 ignores it unfortunately but my Galaxy S II picked it up and displayed a familiar USB storage notification. Here’s a video of someone playing GTA III on an SGS III. I really have to get that game working on my Nexus 7!

Xbox 360 vulnerability? No, just weak passwords!

If your Xbox Live account has been hacked chances are it’s because you used a weak password. According to this post xbox.com reveals if a hacker has found a legitimate email address by printing the following error:

The email address is or password is incorrect. Please try again.

After 8 attempts with a wrong password a CAPTCHA is shown but that can be easily circumvented.

Now, showing that error message makes the job of hacking accounts easier but if it wasn’t there you can be sure that login page would be (and is being) hit by dumb bots that stuff the login page with random emails and passwords. My blog gets hit by so many bots exploiting vulnerabilities for software that doesn’t even run on here that nothing surprises me any more about the intelligence of script kiddies.

It would be super if Microsoft used something like Steam Guard or at the very least put time limits on successive password checks but in the meantime what can you do?

  • Use Lass Pass or another password service and pick a strong password. Use a pass phrase, “talking heads is a great band”, “i wish i had super powers”, “use your own imagination”. They’re all a lot better than “abcdefg1″ and a lot easier to remember! Connect a keyboard to your Xbox to type a long phrase in or you’ll be discouraged.
  • Limit the damage. Don’t add your credit card to Xbox Live. Sometimes you can buy an Xbox Live Gold subscription at half the price Micrsoft charges. Buy points cards if you want to buy stuff. Until recently it was hard to stop XBL auto renewing if you used a credit card.
  • Go live in a hole in the hills and play marbles with the mice.

My XBL Gold subscription ran out a few days ago so I’m back to being a silver member. Not too fussed as almost everyone I play online with has a PS3 or PC too. I’m left wondering why I need an Xbox 360 any more! I will make doubly sure that I have a strong password on the account.

Thanks Gavin for linking to that article, even if we do disagree about what a security hole is. :)

Aside

Somehow I’m known for “hacked lobbies” on Xbox 360. How the hell did that happen?

While playing Bad Company 2 with Dvotee, NorseValkyr1e and macmanx this evening a random guy from my friendslist joined our party and asked about hacked lobbies.Why would I get you into a hacked lobby? I hate the thought of them, and don’t even play Modern Warfare 2 any more!

I think I should clean up my XBL friends list. Only people I know and/or have played BC2 with survive the cull!

Somehow I’m known for hacked lobbies on…

Reach preordered

After reading the glowing reviews of the new Halo game, and watching Anthony grapple with the frustration of not being home when his copy arrives, I logged into Amazon a few hours ago and ordered my copy.

This is despite the fact I don’t really want to renew my Xbox Live Gold membership. It expires in November so I better get some online play into my new purchase as quickly as I can!

I am however looking forward to seeing what cross platform games Bungie create next. Hoping that it will be cross platform too as Microsoft still own a share in the company…

PS. I’m in Seaside, Florida for the next few days if you’ve wondered why I wasn’t online at all!

Xbox 360 250GB HD drives going cheap

I just bought myself a 250GB drive for my Xbox at Argos in Mahon Point here in Cork. They’re going for 68 Euro now!

I remember reading somewhere that products designed for the now “older version” of the Xbox 360 would be reduced in price but this is madness. I have a nagging notion that 120GB drives were in the region of 100 Euro only a year ago. Would I be right?

The price is still inflated for what is only a SATA drive but the price reduction is welcome! (via)

First impressions of Halo: Reach

Seananners

Dead Pixel

Obviously Jesus

Machinima Respawn is full of Halo Reach videos, ish. The beta is due tomorrow and I will probably be pulling out my ODST disk to take part. The videos above remind me of Quake 3. The clean architecture, the futuristic setting, energy weapons. I’m showing my age now aren’t I?

Some more Halo: Reach links. A link dump really:

I wonder if those Halo 2 players are still playing?

Aside

Good news on the cable front! The Xbox 360 HDMI cable and Playstation 3 component cable arrived today!

Despite my misgivings after earlier testing I plugged the Xbox cable in first. The cable comes in two parts. A bog standard HDMI cable and a short “audio” cable with digital and phono connections.
Microsoft made it impossible to use the standard component cable with a HDMI cable because the connector on the Xbox side is so huge. This connector is thinner though. Profiteering?

Anyway, I plugged everything in, HDMI cable into the DVI-D converter and switched on. The screen looked dull like last time so I went fiddling with the colour controls. Instead of “Normal Preset sRGB” I jumped down to “user preset” and bumped up each of the green, blue and red channels and everything looked much better! A little more fiddling with the game brightness in Bad Company 2 and it looked perfect!
I even played a short game of Rush on Arica Harbour and kicked ass as an attacker. We lost eventually on the third base but I took Bravo on the second, and Alpha on the third! I think I was the highest scoring player on my team too! :)

The Playstation 3 component cables worked as advertised. I booted it up but didn’t play anything and all that distracting interference is gone! Woohoo!

Looks like the colour settings are saved per monitor input. When I switched to component or back to VGA it had bounced back to sRGB. Nice.

The only downside now is that the Xbox plays in 1920×1080 while the PS3 plays in 720p.

Good news on the cable front! The Xbox 3…

Xbox 360 through HDMI to DVI

My female HDMI to male DVI-D connector arrived this morning. I’m still waiting on the Xbox HDMI cable and the PS3 component cables. The seller must have felt guilty about charging me so much for shipping that he gave me 3 plugs!

I grabbed a HDMI cable from downstairs and plugged the Xbox 360 into it, and the other end into the DVI-D port on my Dell 2405 LCD monitor. It reset to 640×480 resolution first, but I quickly bumped that up to 1920×1080. Picture quality is ok but nothing to write home about. The screen is a little dark which I had read about on forums. Brightening the screen helped as did setting the brightness in Battlefield Bad Company 2 but it still looked rather dull. It’s impossible to change the contrast which would certainly have helped.

I fired up BC2, and lo and behold, the screen stayed in 1920×1080! I’ve attached a gallery of shots from the game below. Unfortunately the camera lies and brightened up the screen. The dashboard shot is more representative of what it looks like and that was darkened by 2 stops!

I tried the PS3 through the HDMI to DVI-D connector too, but all I got was a black screen with a slightly less black square in the middle. Thanks HDCP in action there. The PS3 won’t even show the desktop or games without it and of course my monitor doesn’t have it. I really need to just get a new one with a HDMI port don’t I? Any recommendations? It has to be used as a PC monitor too.

As a bonus, do you know who this character is? You’ll really be showing your retro credentials if you recognise him!
Who is this fire breathing creature?

I added this 24 inch monitor to my Amazon wishlist. You never know, some kindly soul who uses my plugins may decide to treat me! :)

X Scorch 360 Review

Joystiq reviewed the X Scorch 360 I mentioned previously. It’s a mouse and nunchuck device you can use with the Xbox 360 (or PC) that takes the place of the Xbox controller. I would dearly love if consoles support mice and keyboards as gaming devices so I had high hopes for this.

They weren’t too happy with it unfortunately.

The frustrating thing about the X Scorch from Bannco is how close the odd split-controller and mouse combo comes to being really great. As you’ll see in the video, though, the controller, compatible with Xbox 360 and PC, is all but impossible to recommend at $79.99.

Read the comments on the review however, lots of the settings are configurable on a PC so perhaps they’ll do a follow up review.

Aside

I’m all excited about Halo again.

I thought that Halo ODST was a pile of pooh. I enjoyed the campaign in Halo 3 but never played either game multiplayer which appears to be where these games really shine. Shame about ODST but Halo Reach and all it’s game modes and match making could rock online play. Watch the vide above and you too may become as enthusiastic as Anthony is for the new Halo game.

Now I’m glad I got ODST, it has an invite to the beta. :)

I’m all excited about Halo again. http:…